Weekly Dispatch: July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024


Last chance to take PIA’s 2024 Market Trends Survey!

PIA Northeast members are reaching out to the association about all sorts of things they are seeing in the industry as we navigate this hard-market cycle. PIA Northeast would like input from agents and brokers so that we can gauge how current market conditions are affecting your business. Take a moment to participate in PIA’s 2024 Market Trends Survey, which asks eight questions about how current market trends—in personal auto, personal homeowners, commercial property and commercial liability—are affecting you and your clients. We have added a couple of additional questions this year related to satellite imagery and commission levels. Your input will allow us to track the trends in the marketplace. Share this link with everyone in your agency and encourage them to take the survey. The survey will close Friday, July 19, 2024. To see the results from previous years’ surveys, PIA Northeast members can click here.

Tropical storm Beryl to impact New York, the Northeast

Tropical storm Beryl is anticipated to bring heavy rainfall and storms to the Northeast region, particularly New York state. Beryl, at its peak, was a Category 5 hurricane that has impacted the Greater and Lesser Antilles, Mexico and Texas, with 20 fatalities confirmed and over $6 billion in damages. To keep up with the season, check out PIA’s Hurricane Info Central, which has resources to help your clients and your agency during the hurricane season, which runs June 1-Nov. 30. If you would like to send customized materials to your clients, email PIA’s Design & Print.

FCC regulatory changes to combat unlawful text messages

On Dec. 13, 2023, the Federal Communications Commission adopted significant regulatory changes under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which will attempt to curb unlawful text messages and close loopholes exploited by lead generators. These measures are intended to protect consumers from the nuisance and invasion of privacy caused by unwanted robocalls and robotexts. Specifically, the new rules codify National Do-Not-Call rules for texting, allow for blocking of “red flagged” robotexting numbers, closes the lead-generator loophole for lead-generation websites and encourages an opt-in measure for email-to-text services.

AM Best: Reinsurers see record returns, but no new class of companies emerge

Despite returns reaching a three-decade high for reinsurers, a new class of companies has yet to materialize in the segment, defying past trends, according to a new AM Best report. AM Best’s Special Report titled, The 2023 Reinsurer Class: The Class That Never Was, notes that the reinsurance segment is generating risk-adjusted returns not experienced since 1993. However, a new class of reinsurers has yet to form despite existing hard-market conditions that were present when prior new classes materialized. In past years, a large-scale loss has precipitated the shift by depleting existing capital and forcing reinsurance prices higher, typically whetting the appetite of investors in the process.

FEMA announces project selections for climate resilience

On July 2, 2024, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced 656 project selections for $1 billion in climate resilience funding as part of President Joe Biden’s Investing in America agenda. The selections through the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program will help state, tribal, local and territorial governments address current and future risks from natural disasters including extreme heat, wildfires, drought, hurricanes, earthquakes and increased flooding.

NPR: U.S. ban on noncompete blocked by Texas court

A federal court in Texas has partially blocked the government’s ban on noncompete agreements that was set to take effect Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2024, according to NPR. Ryan LLC, a tax services firm in Dallas, had sued to block the rule just hours after the Federal Trade Commission voted narrowly to ban noncompetes for almost all U.S. workers back in April. The decision, from Judge Ada Brown of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, postpones the effective date of the noncompete ban for the plaintiffs.

Conn.: Consumer bulletin issued for auto and homeowners insurance rate increases

The Connecticut Insurance Department released a consumer notice regarding rate increases for auto and homeowners insurance in the state. Independent agents in the state can use this consumer bulletin to help clarify why rate increases occur. Rate increases, discounts and surcharges vary by insurance company based on their specific rate filings with the CID. There is no one-size-fits-all increase, and each insurer’s adjustments are based on their unique experience as set forth in individual rate filings.

N.J.: July 4 fireworks trigger forest fire, destroying thousands of acres

In reporting from the Associated Press, fireworks were the cause behind a fast-moving forest fire on July 4. The New Jersey Forest Fire Service said Sunday that “a fireworks device” set alight in the Wharton State Forest late on the Fourth of July started the fire. The blaze was spotted from a fire tower shortly after 9 a.m. Friday burning near Apple Pie Hill and the Batona Campground, which was evacuated as a precaution. Independent insurance agents should speak to their clients about coverage options in the case of a forest fire: this instance shows just how quick and how fast fires can get out of hand.

N.Y.: Anti-wage theft initiative, a reminder for agencies to classify workers properly

Two years ago, Gov. Kathy Hochul launched an initiative to combat wage theft in the workplace. She has recently announced that the New York State Department of Labor has investigated and recovered more than $63 million in stolen wages for nearly 65,000 workers across New York state. This is a good time for independent agents to verify that they are classifying their employees properly. Do you need help? Read “What makes a contractor independent?” on PIA Northeast News & Media. PIA Northeast members also can access HR Info Central, which offers members information on federal and state-specific rules related to business owners.

Vt.: Stricter penalties for retail theft of merchandise—new law effective now

Vermont will enforce a new law aimed at curbing retail theft by increasing penalties for offenders, effective July 1, 2024. This new law is a response to rising concerns over retail theft and its impact on businesses and communities. Retail theft has become a growing issue across the United States, with significant economic implications. The surge in theft, often involving organized groups, has pressured lawmakers to act decisively. Retail theft not only leads to direct financial losses, but also drives up insurance costs and operational expenses for businesses. These increased costs often get passed on to consumers, creating a ripple effect throughout the economy.


CID issues p/c bulletin rescinding exemption of certain commercial lines

The CID issued a bulletin on July 3, 2024: it rescinds Bulletin PC-71 regarding the exemption from form, rate and rule filing procedures for claims made insurance policies. The department reviewed a sampling of claims made insurance policy form filings and found various compliance issues. As a result, the department has determined that all claims made from the policy filings will require a complete filing review and are removed from the exempted commercial lines of insurance set forth in Appendix A of the new bulletin.

N.J.: Supreme Court rules all commercial property owners are liable for sidewalks

Recently, the Supreme Court of New Jersey reversed a lower court decision in the case of Alejandra Padilla v. Young Il An, holding that all commercial property owners, including owners of vacant commercial lots or lots where there is no active business being conducted, have a legal duty to maintain public sidewalks adjoining their property. Sidewalks must be in reasonably good condition and therefore commercial property owners are liable to pedestrians that are injured as a result of any negligent failure to maintain them in such condition. Independent agents should speak with their commercial property-owning clients in the state and inform them of this new ruling.

NJDOL outlines new Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights

The “Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights” is effective as of July 1, 2024, and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has outlined the provisions of this law on its website, serving as a resource for both domestic workers and their employers. Signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in January 2024, the “Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights” establishes a broad range of rights and employment protections, such as anti-discrimination and anti-harassment rights, privacy rights and written contract requirements for domestic workers that provide in-home services to private households, including child care, house cleaning, care for elderly or disabled individuals, cooking, and more. Domestic workers can be hired directly by a household or an agency.

N.Y.: New pet insurance legislation: Implications for independent insurance agents and clients

New York’s pet owners and their beloved companions are set to benefit from newly passed legislation that formalizes the regulation of pet insurance in the state. While pet insurance has been available for years, this landmark move introduces a clear and structured framework designed to enhance consumer protection and market transparency. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter, D-128, and Sen. Neil Breslin, D-46, A.8276 / S.7845 underscores the evolving recognition of pets as cherished family members. It will ensure that insurance products are available, reliable, regulated and tailored to meet the needs of pet owners more effectively. This standardization is crucial, as it eliminates confusion and ensures pet owners understand exactly what their insurance covers.


Flood insurance advocacy updates from PIA

PIA has navigated a rush of flood-related activity over the past several weeks. Late last year, FEMA proposed significant regulatory changes to the documents governing the Standard Flood Insurance Policy issued to policyholders whose properties are insured against the risk of flood through the National Flood Insurance Program. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking contains significant proposed changes that would affect independent insurance agents who sell NFIP products. In 2022, PIA joined the National Flood Association, a nonprofit organization whose members represent all aspects of the flood industry, including, among others, insurance, mapping and modeling. Finally, last month, PIA was represented by members and staff at the National Flood Conference and the Flood Insurance Producers’ National Committee meeting with FEMA, both in Washington, D.C.

N.J.: Clarifying duties and liabilities of private beach owners under S.1709

Sponsored by Sens. Declan J. O’Scanlon, Jr., R-13, and Paul A. Sarlo, D-63, S-1709 would clarify the duties and liabilities of private beach owners and lessees regarding injuries suffered by beachgoers. The legislation would provide that private beach owners or lessees who allow or are required by the state to provide public access to their beaches for recreational activities would have no duty to keep the beach safe for entry or use. This provision would apply regardless of whether the beach is maintained in its natural condition, improved or used as part of a commercial enterprise. Furthermore, during periods when the beach is unguarded, the owners or lessees would not be obligated to post signs warning visitors of potential dangers.


Best practices and trends for cybersecurity and remote work

For remote workers, cybersecurity is a significant concern of theirs. Collaboration platforms and email open the door for spam and fraudulent emails, and home computers often don’t have the same security measures in place compared to their office counterparts. This not only risks the worker’s information, it also risks sensitive information of their company and its clients. To learn more, PIA members can read Cyber security challenges and remote workers—trends and best practices in the QuickSource library.

Educating insurance agents

Conn./N.J./N.Y.: Get acquainted with the NFIP

For independent agents looking to further their continuing education when it comes to floods, be sure to attend the seminar, NFIP–What is a Flood? This webinar also will discuss the complex and ever-changing needs of insureds, as well as how agents and brokers can meet those needs. NFIP–What is a Flood? will be held on Thursday, July 18, 2024, from 1-2 p.m., with Mishell K. Magnusson, CIC, CISR, CPIA, AAI, FIPC, as the instructor. This class has been approved for continuing education credits in Connecticut (1 PC), New Jersey (1 NFIP Flood) and New York (1 BR, C3, PA, PC, approved for the NYS regulation for flood insurance).

Register now

Thursday, July 25, 2024: NJYIP Summer Breeze Bash

Monday, Aug. 5, 2024: NY-YIP Golf Open

Save the date

Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2024: CTYIP Networking Reception

Thursday, Aug. 29, 2024: New Hampshire Symposium

Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2024: NY-YIP Albany Fall Soiree

Monday, Sept. 23, 2024: PIANJ Golf Classic

Thursday, Oct. 3, 2024: CTYIP Golden Gala Awards

Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2024: Hudson Valley RAP

Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2024: NJYIP Holiday Social

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